ISIS Fighters Continue to Flee, DoD Spokesman Says
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters remain on the run in Iraq and Syria as coalition troops clear territory once controlled by the enemy, a Pentagon spokesman said today.
Iraqi security forces are continuing clearance operations in the so-called "Hawija Pocket" in Iraq's Kirkuk province while facing small pods of ISIS resistance as they transition to a persistent hold posture, Army Col. Rob Manning told reporters.
"In the past 24 hours, they have cleared 1,083 square kilometers [about 418 square miles]," he said. "The federal police are conducting clearance and security operations throughout the Northern Hawija Pocket."
ISIS Cleared in Western Anbar
Clearance operations also are eliminating the enemy in western Anbar province, Manning said. In Ninevah province, police are continuing their routine patrols and security checkpoints as part of Mosul security operations.
"Security forces operating in Mosul and Tal Afar have reported success in finding and eliminating several locations storing or producing explosives and [improvised explosive device] systems," he said.
Over the weekend, coalition military forces conducted seven strikes in Iraq against ISIS targets in Qaim, Huwija, Rawa, Hit and Tuz, Manning said.
Syria: Day 126 in Raqqa
Today marks Day 126 of operations to defeat ISIS in Raqqa, Syria, where the Syrian Democratic Forces continue to take in civilians who are fleeing from ISIS control there, Manning said.
"They continue to make steady progress, liberating 17 city blocks in Raqqa and 26 square kilometers [10 square miles] along the Jazeera axis in the past 24 hours," he added.
More than 80 percent of the city has been cleared so far, Manning said.
Fighting to Continue
While the impending defeat of ISIS in Raqqa will be "a significant operational and moral blow" to ISIS, there is more fighting to be done as the enemy continues to hold a large amount of territory along the Euphrates River Valley," the colonel noted.
In the past 24 hours, the Syrian Democratic Forces have cleared 9 square kilometers – more than 3 square miles – in the Khabur River Valley and Dayr Az Zawr province, Manning told reporters.
"The coalition and its partners remain committed to continued deconfliction with Russian officials and call on all forces to focus their efforts defeating ISIS," he said.
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)